Being (T)here: Creating in the Borderlands

Posted on December 7, 2010 | No Comments

Last night (6 Dec 2010) at the historic Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, writer/painter Breyten Breytenbach (South Africa), poet/painter Huang Xiang (China), and performance artists Chaw Ei Thein and Ye Taik (Burma) explored the concept of Art in Exile via text, conversation, and live performances. freeDimensional has been working with Chaw ei Thein over the last year as she filed for political asylum in the US and acclimates to the New York City art scene. For her performance last night, she provided the following note:

Many of my friends are in prison, far away and inaccessible. There are over 2100 political prisoners in Burma. Some have been sentenced to 56 years of imprisonment, some 65, some 102. All are committed to their fight for freedom and justice in Burma, and for our people. I am lucky because I am not in prison like them. But I always think of them: how they spend their time in the prison, and how they have sacrificed. I cannot help them to be free. So I am doing this performance as a tribute to them and what they have done for us. In this performance, I explore the “poun-zan”: a form of torture common in Burmese prisons, in which prisoners must hold a physically excruciating and Occhiali Da sole Ray Ban outlet psychologically humiliating position for a long period of time. My performance is their real performance in those prisons. I hope you can feel it.

Chaw ei Thein was has been selected for the New York Foundation for the Arts‘ Mentoring Program for Immigrants Artists through a partnership with freeDimensional.


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